The journey has started. August 1, 2016. We were unceremoniously woken up by our landlord knocking on our door. The lease contract expired July 31 and we had planned to leave for Yunnan around that date but had I known how much ruckus and melodrama the landlord would raise about furniture damaged by children being children, I wished I worked on house repairs the week before Dexit (Dagang Exit after Brexit LOL). But there was no time for that now. We had an appointment with destiny and I had to leave tying loose ends with my sister-in-law who has been amazingly supportive, responsible and hyper-efficient in helping us every step of our life in Dagang. She’s one of the reasons I’ll miss Dagang for sure — as well as the rest of the family and incredible friends. My mother-in-law always shows her love for us by cooking meal feasts and we can always count on her and my father-in-law to take care of the kids when my husband and I were both busy.
We had a big lunch with the family two days before leaving because my brother-in-law and his family were also setting off to their hometown in Hubei. Before leaving Tianjin, we had our last hurrah at the water park in Eco-City which held an incredible wave party at night. A concert played on a big screen with a live host and dancers on stage in front of a big faux beach while giant waves up to three meters high crashed and people were thrown back helter-skelter.
On Monday morning, we managed to pack everything into the car. Jason and I thought that we would “practice” putting everything in the day before so that we would know which would fit, not fit and be able to prioritize and choose. No such “practice” took place because we had to say goodbye to other friends. I made a last playdate at 9:30pm so my sons could finally meet Lucy’s son who was only too excited to have visitors stay till 11.
We just hope we brought all that we need and if not, then we’ll make do with what we brought. I packed the slippers but Jason didn’t put them in the car, blah, blah, blah.
There are a number of people I wish I could have seen one last time before going and I apologize for not being able to visit but we had to press on as planned. The last few weeks was hectic with APDEC in Taiwan and only one week allocated for packing up. I’d have to make it up when we go back to visit Tianjin.
Our first stop was Wutai Shan in Shanxi where we stayed in a hotel-converted farmhouse, climbed the mountain and went white-water rafting in a stream that looked deceptively calm and tame but when ridden, was quite wild and horny. We got drenched but it was the most fun. All the log jam rides in amusement parks pale in comparison.
I’m writing this blog at 2am in the home of John, the Irish husband of my Belgian friend, Sophie. He lives in Taiyuan and when Jason mentioned this afternoon that we’ll stop by that city, I immediately sent John a message on WeChat. Sorry for the short notice but the location sharing function of WeChat is simply brilliant for connecting people.
If the Wi-Fi is not strong enough, I realized, I can’t use WordPress and blog so I’m taking advantage of this opportunity in John’s house to post this because I don’t know when we’ll be in a place with adequate Wi-Fi next.